Schlegel guides the defense before the play
Anthony Schlegel was one of the last Jets players to leave the Linc locker room Thursday night for the team bus from Philadelphia back to Hempstead. He seemed, well, not wildly happy but pleased, and perhaps at peace.
"It felt like a continuation of things for me tonight," the inside linebacker said following the win over the Eagles. "I've just been doing everything I can all camp. I finally got a little opportunity to go out there and do what I can do. It felt good. All the guys on defense played extremely hard and it was a total team victory."
Just as Schlegel began answering another question, QB Kellen Clemens came by and swatted his fellow second-year Jet from the other side of the aisle on the upper arm. "Damn, you looked good," Clemens said.
It was true. Minutes before, Schlegel had ranged over Lincoln Financial Field in the second half of the 13-11 win. His name first appears in the play-by-play with a third-quarter tackle of Eagles FB Nate Ilaoa after a 2-yard gain. Then it showed up for a tackle of WR Mike Gasperson for a yard loss, again for separating Ilaoa from the ball after a catch for a fumble that Drew Coleman pounced on for the takeaway, once more for assisting Ray Ventrone on a kick coverage tackle.
Also true was that Schlegel was standing out among the Jets' and Eagles' second- and third-teamers. More than a few Green & White fans will consider the 76th selection of last year's draft that was spent on Schlegel and croon like Peggy Lee, "Is that all there is?"
But a man can only do what he can do, and on this night Schlegel did a lot. Including that special teams takedown, his seven tackles, all in one half, led the Jets and his forced fumble set up his team on the Birds' 36 for its only touchdown drive.
The question today and Saturday, as Eric Mangini and his coaching staff finish deciding on which 22 players to move to get down to a 53-man roster, is whether that's enough to keep Schlegel employed by the Jets.
The 26-year-old Texan from The Ohio State University with the long hair and the all-day five-o'clock shadow is ready for whatever the future dishes out.
"I don't worry about that at all," he said of the possibility of being cut. "I think God has a plan for everybody. Whatever his plan is for me right now, that's what it's going to be. You just take it in stride. I'm not a big worry guy. I just go out there and do what I can. As long as I can look myself in the mirror and say I did my best, that's all I care about it."
Well, that plus a few others who are close to him.
"I'm very blessed," he said. "I have a beautiful wife, a 13-month-old son and a baby girl on the way. I'm already blessed, no matter what happens. I love playing football, but family and God are always most important."
Sometimes, though, all priorities can be met. Whether that's true in Schlegel's case or any of a number of other Jets hopefuls, we'll know later today.